Equality and Human Rights Commission report: The Cumulative Impact of Tax and Welfare Reforms

‘The impact of changes to direct taxes and benefits is to reduce the income of
Bangladeshi households by around £4,400 per year on average’.

Four months after releasing their 2017 interim report, the Equality and Human Rights Commission have published their final cumulative impact assessment (pdf), in March 2018.

The report exposes how much individuals and households are expected to gain or lose, and how many adults and children will fall below an adequate standard of living, as a result of recent changes to taxes and social security.

The report finds:

Negative impacts are particularly large for households with more disabled members, and individuals with more severe disabilities, as well as for lone parents on low incomes
For some family types, these losses represent over 13% of average net income
At an individual level, women lose on average considerably more from changes to direct taxes and benefits than men
Lone parents in the bottom fifth of the household income distribution lose around 25% of their net income, on average
Around 1.5 million more children are forecast to be living in households below the relative poverty line as a result of the reforms.
EDF and a number of our members have contributed to the development of this important research.

Read the full report (pdf).

Institute for Fiscal Studies briefing: Poverty and Low Pay in the UK

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57% of people in poverty are children or working-age adults living in a household where someone is in paid work.  

This is according to a March 2018 briefing from the Institute for Fiscal Studies on poverty and low pay in the UK. 

The briefing finds:

Low pay is highly related to lack of pay progression. The wages of the low- and high- educated, and of men and women, end up much further apart by age 40 than they were at the start of their careers
Experience and education are both positively associated with higher wages, but the association with experience is much stronger for the high-educated than the low-educated
The fact that women’s wages fall behind their male counterparts over the lifecycle is, in part, related to a remarkable lack of wage progression in part-time work.
Read the full briefing.

Equality and Human Rights Commission survey report and campaign: Moving Forward

6 in 10 employers agree that a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant during the recruitment process.

This is according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) who have published the results of their survey on maternity discrimination in the workplace, in February 2018.

The aim of the survey was to understand managers’ attitudes around pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

Findings from the survey include:

44% of employers agree that women should work for an organisation for at least a year before deciding to have children
40% of employers claim to have seen at least one pregnant woman in their workplace ‘take advantage’ of their pregnancy
41% employers agreed that pregnancy in the workplace puts ‘an unnecessary cost burden’ on the workplace.
EHRC have also launched a February 2018 campaign to combat these negative perceptions and end discrimination against new parents. Working Forward asks businesses to join the campaign and make the pledge.

Read the research report.

Find out on the Working Forward campaign.

House of Commons Library briefing paper: Workers Underpaid the Minimum Wage

The House of Commons logo.

The true extent of underpayment is very difficult to estimate, but a range of 1 to 2 million underpaid workers is likely, or between 4% and 9% of employees aged 25 and above.

This is according to the February 2018 briefing paper (pdf) from the House of Commons Library, which looks at what is known about workers paid less than the minimum wage. 

The paper finds:

HMRC found 98,150 underpaid workers in 2016/17. This was an increase of 69% from 2015/16, and the largest annual total on record
Data from the LFS indicates that 77% of those who usually do one or more hours of unpaid work per week are not paid a fixed hourly rate. In other words, most unpaid time is done by employees on a salary
For the same reason, ASHE does not capture the informal economy, for example, work paid cash in hand. Informal work is likely to have a higher rate of non-compliance with the minimum wage.

Human Rights Watch report: World Report 2018

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Despite allegations of serious abuse in immigration detention centers, the UK
persisted in not imposing a maximum time limit for immigration detention, and
continued to detain asylum-seeking and migrant children.

This is from the January 2018 report (pdf) from the Human Rights Watch (HRW). World Report 2018 is their 28th annual review of human rights
practices around the globe.

The report summarises key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2016 through November 2017. 

The report finds: 

Germany over the past year made headlines when the Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the first far-right party to enter its parliament in decades
Despite a strong tradition of protecting civil and political rights, Australia has serious unresolved human rights problems. Australia continued in 2017 to hold asylum seekers who arrived by boat on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on the island nation of Nauru, where conditions are abysmal
Bahrain’s human rights situation continued to worsen in 2017. Authorities shut down the country’s only independent newspaper and the leading secular-left opposition political society. 
In Bangladesh, civil society groups faced pressure from both state and non-state actors, including death threats and attacks from extremist groups.

Read the full report (pdf).

Equality and Human Rights Commission report: Fair Opportunities for all – a Strategy to Reduce Pay Gaps in Britain

The EHRC logo.

What needs to change? The over-representation of women, most ethnic minority groups and disabled people in low-paid, elementary occupations.

This is according to the January 2018 report (pdf) from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This paper sets out what needs to change and who needs to take action to reduce gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps.

The report finds:

Some elements of pay gaps result from the choices people make about balancing work with other aspects of their lives, though these choices may be dictated or constrained by stereotypes about the roles people, particularly women, are expected to play in society
Part-time work is predominantly low-paid work and therefore the choice to work flexibly inevitably leads to lower pay
The Welsh Government has set clear equality objectives to identify and reduce the causes of employment, skills and pay inequalities
In April 2017, the UK Government introduced gender pay gap reporting for private companies across Great Britain and for public bodies in England
The Scottish and Welsh Governments already required pay gap reporting by public bodies.
Read the full report (pdf).

Joint Committee on Human Rights report: Legislative Scrutiny, The EU (Withdrawal) Bill – a Right by Right Analysis

Joint Committee on Human Rights

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Lords on 30 and 31 January.  And the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is ‘particularly concerned with the human rights implications of excluding the Charter of Fundamental Rights from retained EU law’. 

This is from JCHR’s January 2018 report (pdf) which analyses the European Union Bill.

The report finds:

Some of the rights will inevitably be lost as they derive from membership of the EU
Charter rights which are based wholly or largely on “general principles of EU law” will no longer confer an enforceable right (although the Government may reconsider its position on this). This means a loss of enforceable rights such as Article 1 (human dignity)
A number of the Charter rights derive from the ECHR and are incorporated into domestic law by virtue of the Human Rights Act 1998. Whilst these rights will therefore continue to exist and confer an enforceable right on individuals, the standing is narrower and the remedies are weaker under the HRA compared to the Charter. 
Read the full report (pdf).